It is possible to use aerial photography to supplement your income or even to launch a business. The following are some of the ways you can make money with drone photography.
Almost anyone can now afford aerial photography thanks to drones which have become so affordable and accessible. As a result, photographers, entrepreneurs, and amateurs can now access a feature that once only belonged to professionals.
Photographs taken from the air are highly sought after by event planners, art collectors, as well as many businesses and industries. Using your drone to sell aerial images is now easier than ever.
The Equipment You Need to Make Money with Your Drone
In order to successfully sell drone-shot photos or videos, you must first ensure that the images are as high quality as possible. For high-quality, sharp pictures, it’s vital to have a good camera. Nobody would pay for images that appear to have been taken by an inexperienced photographer or with a cheap drone.
A professional camera drone is a worthwhile investment if you plan on taking on more contracts and making money with your drone. You can buy gimbals and other items that will allow you to take better photos as you take on more contracts and start to make money.
Learn more: Basic Camera Drone Buying Guide 2021
Things You Must Do Before You Start Making Money with Your Drone
After you have acquired all required equipment and are ready to start your first job, you will need to lay the groundwork.
You should become familiar with the laws governing drone operation in your country and in the areas where you intend to fly your drone. Different laws exist, and they are constantly changing to keep pace with this new technology. Some countries, such as the United States, require drone registration before flying a drone.
Before accepting jobs, you should get to know your drone and make sure that you are comfortable flying it, and that you have the necessary skills to take the pictures you are hired to take.
Drone photography can become a business if you go about it as such. If you are planning to make money with drone photography, you may be required to get a Part 107 License. Some states may even require pilot training for anyone who wishes to start a drone business.
7 Effective ways to monetize your drone
The drone photography industry offers a number of ways to make money. You can specialize and gain expertise in a particular field, or you can experiment with a few different aspects to broaden your experience.
1. Become a Professional Photographer
There is no doubt that this is a great way to begin selling your aerial photographs. You can either take your own pictures and be as creative as you like or you can get commissioned to work on a particular project.
Several of the images that you have taken with your aerial camera can be sold as prints, so why not sell those that you like? It is possible to set up your own online virtual shop on many websites, such as Etsy, where you can sell your photography. It is also possible to get creative and print your photos on items, such as calendars, which can then be sold.
The DJI Mini 2 is a great drone for beginners. Since it’s very lightweight (249g) you won’t need to register it and is much more affordable than any of the other big players.
Also, the DJI Air 2S has the best of both worlds, flexibility, portability, and extremely high tech at a great price.
On a much more professional scale, you can never go wrong with the Mavic 2 Pro. Check out our reviews.
Aerial photography is also in high demand in niche markets. Here are several industries that often require drone photographers.
Building designers and architects often prefer aerial photos of their work for their own portfolios. You can promote yourself by taking photographs of buildings and landmarks and selling them to the owners.
Event Photographer: Weddings, Sports, Hotels
The use of drones as wedding photographers and videographers is growing in popularity. Set up a local network of wedding photographers and offer your services. You can look up popular places where weddings are normally held and offer your services as part of the bundle. Alternatively, you can contact wedding planners and be the go-to person when it comes to drone photography.
You can also get hired to capture video and images from sporting events. Become involved in local sports organizations and make yourself known as a drone person.
The hotel and resort industry employs drone photographers to capture aerial photos or videos that are used to promote their businesses. They also hire drone photographers for special events.
Drone Business in Real Estate
Get in touch with local and regional real estate firms and let them know that you can provide aerial photos of properties on the market. More visuals are required for the more opulent properties. Remember that a freebie can go a long way down the road.
Learn how to shoot great cityscape photos and show them around to relevant audiences. And remember, always watermark your photos with your website information. You don’t want anyone stealing your hard-earned photos.
Local newscasters and reporters are always on the lookout for topics to add to their programming, so keep your eyes open and go out for events whenever possible. You might also get helpful footage if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Drone flying is a high-risk activity, so you’ll want insurance to protect yourself and your drone. Compare the different insurance options and choose the one that works best for you.
Learn more: 5 Reasons why you need Drone Insurance
2. Upload Stock Photography
Some stock photography sites are cheap and don’t pay well, while others, such as Getty Images, value quality over quantity and pay significantly higher royalties.
While you are out on the job, take some pictures and edit them so you can sell them as stock photos. They aren’t usually a source of income, but they can provide a small amount of passive income for years to come.
3. Drone Agriculture
Aerial photographs and videos are an excellent way for farmers and agriculture workers to keep an eye on their crops as they grow.
For this type of drone photography, you will need experience and a clear understanding of what clients expect from you. You will want to capture plant growth, water pooling, and uniformity in the field.
Check out: DJI Drones for Agriculture
4. 3D Mapping Drone Business
Since the advent of drones, many industries are now hiring drone photographers to take aerial shots of their sites. With drone photography experience, you can earn a great deal of money in this business.
Construction, Forestry, and Mining can proactively search for drone photographers that focus on this type of service. This service can also be used to create models for Topography and Landscaping. If you’re not into the creative aspect of photography, this could be a great expertise to profit from.
5. Drone Surveillance and Security
Drone photographers can also be employed in the surveillance industry, which is quite lucrative. They are hired by various industries to keep an eye on properties or document events. This could be a private company or a government agency.
6. Aerial Site Inspection
Various industries and utility companies will hire drone photographers to inspect buildings, works, or facilities. Several types of companies can request drone photographers to take footage or photos of detailed aerial inspections, such as insurance or construction companies.
7. Make a Drone Business on Coaching
Once you have mastered drone and aerial photography, you can decide to teach your skills to other photographers who are just getting started.
You should definitely consider a drone pilot training course to get your game going right from the start. Find a hands-on training class near you.
Build Your Drone Business by Marketing Yourself
Once you have some outstanding photographs to show off, you can start building your portfolio. If you have no way to show your work, no one will hire you as a photographer. Make your own website, Facebook page, Instagram account, or place an ad in your local newspaper. Let your family and friends know you are providing drone photography services. Spread the word and ensure you have images that support your claim.
Enjoy the ride
It’s up to you to decide how far you want to take your drone business, from the occasional gig to lucrative contracts with major companies. This type of photography is in high demand right now, and the market isn’t saturated yet.
If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write them in our comment box below.